An informational interview is a process to learn more about an occupation, industry, or company —not to ask for a job. Learn why you should update your resume and then leave it at home.
- You've done your research, you've cleaned up your online presence, you've reached out to targeted contacts, and you've scheduled an informational interview. So now your questions are, should you update your resume or CV? And, should you bring it with you? My answers may surprise you. Yes you should update your resume or CV, but no, you should not present it during an informational interview. An informational interview is a process to learn more about an occupation, industry, or company, not to ask for a job.
When you pull out your resume, you've turned the meeting into an ambush job interview, and you could lose your credibility. You don't want to look like you have an ulterior motive for scheduling the informational interview, or make your contact feel like you've ambushed them. Remember, this person is giving you their valuable time to answer questions. You want the conversation to focus on their experience, and how they advanced their career. And, when you let someone talk about themselves, they like you more.
And keep in mind, most of the time this person is not the hiring manager for the job you're seeking, so at best they'll give your paperwork to HR. It would be terrible for HR to get an incomplete resume. Remember, it won't include all the information you've learned during your informational interview. Hold your resume until after the interview so you can customize it, and increase the chances of actually scheduling future job interviews. Based on your discussion, you may find you need to revise the career summary, and core competencies sections on your resume or CV to reflect the keywords most desired by your targeted occupation or industry.
When you're listing your experience, stress accomplishments and the impact of your accomplishments that would align with your targets. Remember, you only get one chance to make a great first impression. Your resume or CV can enhance or hurt that first impression. Revising your resume or CV takes extra effort on your part, and you may revise your resume further after your informational interview, but it's definitely worth your time and effort.
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- Compare an informational interview to a job interview.
- Identify companies and contacts to interview.
- Prepare for an interview, by researching questions and updating your résumé.
- Conduct an informational interview.
- Analyze the results from your interview.